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Hope for flood victims

PUBLISHED: 22:56 23 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:24 03 March 2010

FLOODED homes could soon be a thing of the past if the government takes the time to listen to a Suffolk entrepreneur who believes he has invented the perfect solution.

FLOODED homes could soon be a thing of the past if the government takes the time to listen to a Suffolk entrepreneur who believes he has invented the perfect solution.

Tim Meyer, of Bucklesham Road, Kirton, has been working on a system to prevent water damage to houses, which are situated in low-lying areas and prone to flooding.

He claims the proposed method is simple to install and could protect houses in a matter of minutes.

Mr Meyer said: "You obviously can't stop the flooding – it's like trying to keep a quart in a pint pot, the water will come up somewhere. However, you can protect homes from letting the water in."

"This invention is like an inside-out swimming pool."

In a letter to John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, in October, Mr Meyer offered the Government the opportunity to listen to his idea and perhaps discuss the possibility of developing the design further with their help.

Mr Prescott sent him a letter the following day saying he had referred it to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs but Mr Meyer has never heard from them.

The invention, which could dramatically reduce the damage caused by flooding, is based on the same principle as that already in place with floodgates.

Mr Meyer proposes that half way up all external doors and air vents, a floodgate that has a metal frame around it, be fixed to the wall. On the door, a rubber seal, similar to hose reel, is fitted and connected to a submarine wheel.

"When there is a flood warning, you shut the gate and tighten the wheel and in a matter of seconds the home is fully protected," said Mr Meyer.

He says there would also need to be a one way valve on the toilet to stop the water getting in that way.

Initial calculations by Mr Meyer indicate that the average house could be protected for under £1,500.

The one draw back to this system is that it would only be suitable for houses built from the 60s onwards according to Mr Meyer, because older houses have old fashioned footings, allowing water in.

Mr Meyer has discussed his idea with Insurance company, Norwich Union who have shown an interest but says ideally he would like to work with a university on the design and develop it.

Mr Meyer said he is surprised that the Government has not contacted him about his proposal considering the millions of pounds that flooding causes every year.

"I would have expected the appropriate government department to have been in contact and at least looked at my idea. If they then hadn't liked it then that's fair enough but they are so arrogant and haven't even bothered.

"Global warming is a new problem and therefore new solutions will need to be considered. I feel the government need to be open-minded," said Mr Meyer.

In 1982 Mr Meyer designed the surfers' hut, now Alby's café on the seafront in Felixstowe. It sits on 40-gallon drums filled with concrete that are drilled six feet into the ground.

Other inventions by Mr Meyer include the environmentally friendly bird table and the bottom-emptying dustbin.

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